A few years ago now, Jude and I had promised ourselves that one day we would go skiing in Bettmeralp, or rather the AletschArena, as the lift system also links in with the Riederalp and Fiescheralp ski areas. So, with some free time last week and the weather set fair, we did just that.
After several weeks of sunshine, we were pleasantly surprised at the depth and quality of the snow and the huge width of some of the ski pistes. We were also very taken by a very picturesque Victorian style building, which turned out to be called Villa Cassel. (See pic 6).
Further research revealed that it was built for the German-English banker, Sir Ernest Cassell, who used it as a summer residence until the First World War. Cassell had an interesting life. He was born in Cologne and, at the age of 17, arrived penniless in the UK. However, he went on to become one of the richest men in Britain and was a good friend of King Edward VII, Prime Minister H.H. Asquith and Winston Churchill. He bred race horses and had a famous art collection.
The Villa itself could only be reached on foot or by mule. But, when the inhabitants of the town said they were going to make a better road to his property, he answered: “If you do, I’m not coming here anymore.”
After the War, the Villa was used as a hotel, but was sold in 1970 and is now run as a nature conservation centre by Pro Natura, the oldest environmental organisation in Switzerland, who take care of about 700 nature reserves of various sizes throughout Switzerland. I’m sure Ernest would have approved.
I believe the third Monday in January is often referred to as Blue Monday as it’s meant to be the most depressing day of the year. Well, not today my friends… I sincerely hope this song by M People gets your foot tapping and brings a huge smile to your face. I dedicate this post to all my loyal followers, because without you, this blog would not have any purpose. Please enjoy! 😁
I’m pretty sure that it’s still the pantomime season in the UK. So this “Fresh” video by Kool and the Gang is a great way of celebrating this wonderful British tradition.
“Oh no it isn’t” I hear you say…
“Oh, yes it is!” I reply… 🤣😂
Oh, how I miss Berwick Kaler at the York Theatre. He was an institution.
After the excesses of the festive season (i.e. too much 🍰&🍺) I was keen to get out for some much needed exercise. Many of my usual walking routes are knee deep in snow, but I thought the track up to Lac d’Arbey and then across and down to Les Haudères would be well trampled down by now. And, apart from one or two ‘softer’ patches, so it proved…
While the upper part of the Val d’Hérens is covered in snow, the lower part of the valley is completely clear. So, with the sun shining brightly, I decided to take my camera for a walk down the path from Euseigne to Sion. Although it’s a walk I’ve done and posted before, I was certain I’d find something new or unusual to photograph and I wasn’t disappointed.
The early morning frost made for some interesting images and one of the wooden bridges had been dislodged due to a landslide last year, making it unusable. However, I have no idea why there was a sweeping brush propped up next to the small shrine. (See pic 24).
You may recall from my Fun in the Snow post last week, that my brother, with only a little help from his 2 sons, built a snowman in our garden. That was on Friday, 27th December. Picture 29, taken on new year’s day, showed that it had started to lean backwards. (I presume this was due to the sun on its back rather than my brother’s snowman building skills).
Well, I’m happy to report, all you Raymond Briggs fans, that, almost a week later, the snowman is still alive and well, though now leaning over quite remarkably. At least it will be able to enjoy looking at the stars without getting a crick in its neck. 😊
After the possible excesses of Christmas and new year, this week it’s a classic RnB number, from Soul II Soul, bringing you Back to Life…
Firstly let me wish you all a very happy, healthy and peaceful new year.
My brother, Steve, has been visiting us this past week with his wife, Beverley, and their two sons, Gabriel and Sebastien. Last Friday didn’t get off to a good start with snow falling all morning, but it did mean the boys could get to build a rather large (6ft/2m tall) snowman in the afternoon. I say ‘boys’, but as you can see from the first few pictures, it was mainly Steve who built it, while Seb and Gabe did what brothers do – throw snowballs at each other.
From then on though it has been blue skies all the way and we’ve been out walking, cross-country skiing and downhill skiing.
With the sun shining brightly, as each day went by, the snowman started to tilt more and more. Picture 29 below was taken on new year’s day (looking a bit how I felt!) and, even today, it’s still defying gravity by leaning at around 45 degrees.
Hopefully most of you will be enjoying a well earned break and in the Holiday mood… 😁